July Check-in


After spending most of May and June in the doldrums or with COVID, July has been a blinder of a month and, true to my word of the year, all about me. So, without further palaver let’s get straight into it… Oh, before I do, don’t read this post if you’re hungry! (You have been warned…)


I spent the first few days of July in Queenstown, New Zealand with Sarah, my 24-year-old daughter. She and I have been going away together in July each year since she was a toddler – and I’m grateful she still wants to do it.

We’d cancelled this trip so often over the past two years that neither of us believed we were going until we had made it successfully onto the plane, through immigration in Queenstown, and passed the day 1 COVID test.

In any case, we made the absolute most of our (limited) time and had a ball. This may have been my 7th (or is it 8th?) visit to this amazing place, but there’s always something new to discover. I’ve already told you about the food and our Skippers Canyon tour, and will tell you about wine tasting and another 4WD tour – this time to Paradise Valley – over the next few weeks.


We no sooner arrived home than my brother and his family were in town for the school holidays. While they didn’t stay with us (and were here for my nephew’s cricket tournament), we got to catch up a number of times – including for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants on the coast, Sum Yung Guys.

Plus, my sister-in-law joined us at 5am for our beach walks. Now, that’s dedication.

Sarah and a couple of her friends made a trip down to the Sunny Coast one grogeous Saturday and we joined them for a picnic and a walk at Mary Cairncross Park in the hinterland. And no, I didn’t eat the donuts…


In book club we finally got together for our Persuasion inspired bake – Dorset Apple Cake. Unfortunately life has gotten in the way for us all of late, so we were missing Sue, but she was definitely with us in spirit.

My Kiwi bestie and her hubby finally made it across the ditch to visit. I say finally because I think this was 5th time lucky. In any case, given we were last all together Christmas 2019 in England, this was a fabulous catch-up with Grant and I enjoying their holiday almost as much as they did.

On the first weekend we walked the beach before sunrise and watched a group down there having a silent disco; hit the shops to prepare for the criuise we’re taking together in October; visited Honeysuckle – another of our favourite Sunny Coast restaurants – and took a trip into the Hinterland to Flame Hill Winery.

I changed my work days around the following week so we could make a quick visit to Hervey Bay to see Sarah and go whale-watching. Sarah, however, tested positive for COVID a couple of days earlier so our visit with her was from a safe distance. As for the whale watching, well the boat was turned back by bad weather just after leaving the harbour.

Us on the boat before it was turned back.

All was not lost as (unable to stay with Sarah) I was able to show them my favourite walks around the bay (we needed to walk miles!), visit my favourite cafes for brekky, Enzos for sunset cocktails, and my favourite restaurant in Hervey Bay – Odyssey.

The whole foodie extravaganza culminated in dinner cooked and served at home by a private chef – but you’ll need to wait until next week to hear more about that one.

What else?

To be honest there hasn’t been time for anything else.

I completed the copy edit for It’s In The Stars, and Philly Barker has come back from being formatted and is now ready for publication at the end of September. I am, however, running a loooong way behind on the new book. Hey ho.

On the last Friday of each month (Southern Hemisphere), the co-hosts of What’s On Your Bookshelf hold a link-up for readers to share their reflections and actions inspired by their Words of the Year (or goals/intentions for 2022). SueDebDonna and, of course, myself are looking forward to you joining us and sharing how you have focused on your WOTY during the previous month. The linky is below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

18 thoughts

  1. Wow what a fabulous month you’ve had Jo, food, family, friends and so much fun. Love your WOTY, it is all about YOU! Loved your post and can’t wait to read more about your private chef experience.

  2. A super busy month for you Jo and I’m glad all those trips finally got to happen (shame about Sarah and covid and about the aborted whale watching excursion). Soooo many food pics – I feel like such a food pleb in comparison, but hey ho it is what it is.

  3. Sounds like July has been very kind to you Jo. Isn’t it fabulous to be able to travel again! I love your photos, especially the amazing food. The chef at home sounds very exciting. Looking forward to hearing about it

  4. Jo, What a fantastic July you’ve had, nourishing yourself with family, friends and good food. I look forward to hearing about the chef at home. I linked up my July wrap-up post. Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Okay, so I didn’t heed your warning and I opened and read this post when I was already very hungry. I am off to the kitchen now!! Wonderful catchup post and photos — I greatly look forward to the followups.

  6. Hi Jo what a fabulous month you have had and yes it was all about ‘You’ (or ‘ME’ your WOTY). I loved reading your post and knowing how the previous months have been more lows than highs, July certainly brought the highest of highs. I think it is your best month so far in 2022 – hard to beat! xx

  7. I have so many posts to catch up. I only just saw news of Denyse’s move back to Sydney next year and Sue’s move back to Brisbane. SO MUCH HAPPENING and I’m out of the loop.

    You did have a great July and that’s wonderful. I’m thinking of a holiday in the next few months and Tassie / SA are on my list but I should also think about Queenstown as you know I love those tiny houses in that area near the lake.

  8. What a great ‘ME’ month you have had to make up for your Covid restricted months. It was such a shame your daughter caught Covid though – I hope she has fully recovered. I loved the travel photos and the food porn photos! Definitely feeling hungry now.

  9. Gosh this covid thing really messes us up doesn’t it? So far, for us, no covid, but I am off to see Dad at Dee Why tomorrow and there are people in his Unit complex that have had it. Not him (yet) and as I have some surgery soon, I am taking a bit of a risk going but I also need to leave him some meals and goodies and catch up. I loved reading this post, just as I loved seeing the great time you have with your special visitors. Love that you and Sarah still keep a tradition happening. Thank you for the link up. Denyse

  10. What a cracker of a month! Sorry to hear about the cruise and Sarah’s Covid – hope she made a full recovery. Looking forward seeing some of your favourite haunts when we finally make it to the Sunny Coast. (Really hoping it’s really sunny too!)

    1. I’m sure it will be sunny! I need to do some proper research on dog friendly places for you… I only know a few here but know them all in Hervey Bay!

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